Where to find Stant Litore at Pikes Peak Writers Conference (PPWC)

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Fiction writers: If you’re at Pikes Peak Writers Conference this weekend, come say hi! Here’s what I will be up to and where you can find me (other than the hotel bar):

Friday, April 28:

  • 10:50-11:50 a.m. Class: Bring Your Characters to Life on the Page (Salon A)
  • 5:20-5:50 p.m. Book Signing in hotel lobby

Saturday, April 29

  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Class: Beating Writer’s Block (Salon A)
  • 5:40-6:10 p.m. Book Signing in hotel lobby

Sunday, April 30

  • 9-10 a.m. Class: Delving Into Your Character’s History (Salon GH)
  • 11:20-12:20. Panel: Short Stories: Good for the Novelist, Career and Soul (Aspen Leaf) (with Fleur Bradley, Sam Knight, and Shannon Lawrence)

See you there, fellow writers!

Stant Litore

2 Powerful Things About the Good Friday Story

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It is Good Friday. This is a day that resonates powerfully for me as a storyteller. Here are two things about the Good Friday story that sink into my heart today:

1. No matter who you are, no matter how the world has treated you, no matter how alone you feel, you matter so much – both in your uniqueness and in your identity as an essential part of humanity – that a handful of people in what is now Israel, Syria, and Turkey once wrote down a story about a God who, out of all the infinite cosmos, wanted to live on earth and breathe and have dinner and walk and talk and love and grieve and die with you. You matter.

2. On a day when some remember a story of an unjust (but legal) crucifixion conducted for political reasons, it is a good time for those of us who are more privileged to reflect that: a) there is a wide gap between law and justice, and our responsibility is always to stand in that gap; b) religious piety and love of one’s neighbor are not the same thing, and one may prevent the other, as it did for people in the story; c) seeking safety in a community or a nation is not a matter of finding and expelling the “lawbreakers” – after all, we have an entire religion whose origin story involves the time that God was expelled as a lawbreaker; d) we could be cautious of whose example we follow — do we wash our hands of the violence that is done with our tacit permission, like Pontius Pilate, or do interrupt the stone-throwers, do we we kneel and wash the feet of society’s outcasts, like Jesus?

Stant Litore

Ansible: Rasha’s Letter – A New Book from Stant Litore

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Available now for pre-order.

RashasLetter_1000

Rasha is a Syrian refugee fleeing war with her infant son. Sahira is a time-traveling, shapeshifting hijabi defender of humanity.

In a distant future when all humanity is fleeing a predatory and unexpected horror, Rasha’s choices at a critical moment could make the difference between extinction and refuge — if Sahira can get her safely to that day.

Both time-travel thriller and love story, this riveting addition to the Ansible saga takes you from the dust and despair of bombed-out cities and poisoned land to the weird apparitions that can transform a planet’s future.

This book will be available in a kindle edition May 16, 2017, and can be pre-ordered now. There are Advanced Reader Copies available for my $5+ Patreon members. Paperback and audiobook editions of this novella will also be available in late May.

PRAISE FOR THE ANSIBLE SERIES

“Stant Litore may be SF’s premier poet of loneliness.” – Jason Kirk, author of Reverb and The Other Whites in South Africa

“Litore’s stories aren’t only entertaining. They are stories invading our lives, unexpectedly. You encounter them, as you might encounter people. They are those random elements in life that happen to you, like a mugging, like childbirth, like falling in love and marriage, like death and the funeral that follows. They are moments that leave a mark, and leave you changed.” – Andrew Hallam, Ph.D., Metropolitan State University of Denver

“Stant eloquently writes passages that are so moving, full of passion, fury, loneliness, blind drive … He takes us to places of amazing beauty, awe-inspiring, as well as places where the implications in the story can leave you almost in despair for the human race.” – Nikki Ebright, Director, Myths & Legends Con

 

Blessed are the Peacemakers

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Had a lovely class this morning on “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I shared the differences between English ‘peace’ (derived from Latin ‘pax,’ meaning rest or order achieved via the absence or suppression of conflict) and Koine-Greek/New Testament ‘eirene’, meaning diverse lives woven together in community. We talked about how ‘eirene’ doesn’t exist if your community consists of people stacked on top of each other hierarchically in separated, exclusive bolts of cloth, unwoven. We talked about weaving in the Greek world and in Greek literature, noted wryly that several centuries of primarily male translation committees for Bibles, until recently, couldn’t distinguish between ‘woven’ and ‘knit,’ and talked about what’s required for eirenepoein (peacemaking) to work. We talked about how in Galatians, ‘bearing one’s own load’ and ‘bearing each other’s burdens’ aren’t treated as opposites (not an either/or choice) but as both being a part of living in woven-together, responsible community (not dependent or independent, but interdependent). And one heaviness on my heart was that I have been a completely terrible peacemaker this week, because this season has made me harsh. And peacemaking requires patience, listening, self-control. There is a difference between strong and harsh. At least for me. So I will work on that.

What a peculiar culture we are, with a basketful of destructive and long-lived ideas inherited from the Romans. We think peace means ‘no one fighting, conflict avoided’ because that’s what kind of peace the Romans liked to demand of subject peoples. We think meek means weak, because that’s what the Romans thought (the Greek word ‘praeis’ actually means overriding your fears and appetites to serve something more important; it’s about restraint and service). We think of giving charity instead of doing justice, though in most ancient languages, there is only doing justice, without a separate word for ‘charity.’ We think ‘blessed’ means lucky or favored or happy, because Latin, again (the Greek word ‘makarios’ means ‘made big’ in the sense of influence in the lives of others). We think ‘pure’ means ‘unmixed’ (Latin) when the Greek word means ‘cleansed’ (using the same root as ‘catharsis’) because in the Koine Greek text it didn’t matter what you had done or what had been done to you, or what swear words you’d spoken or heard, or the status of some portion of your anatomy; what mattered was the process of cleansing the heart and what that cleansing would allow you to do in the future. We think truth means ‘a fact’ when it actually meant ‘a commitment’; the Greek ‘aletheia’ that we translate as ‘truth’ meant ‘unforgetting’/never-forgetting a promise, and we miss that because the Romans used a word that meant ‘that which can be verified.’ We think faith is a thing instead of an action. We think love is something you feel when it’s actually something you do, a way that you put everything on the line for another (Greek ‘agape’). We think hope is something wishful, when it was actually a vision of an alternate and sought-for future that you were going to walk toward no matter what may come at you in the dark. We talk about ‘salvation’ and forget that the Greek word means ‘given refuge’ and that the early Christians defined themselves as refugees in search of a home. As Margaret Atwood says, we think liberty is about what you’re getting freedom from instead of what you’re getting freedom for: we tell Exodus stories where God says ‘let my people go’ and we forget the rest of the sentence, we forget what purpose the freedom was to serve; we are always fearing and running away from things and missing what we’re running toward. Even after so many centuries, in the West we translate and live with the eyes of the Caesars always over our shoulder, and with the language and the quick march-step of the Romans shaping our thoughts, our religious texts, and our cultural ideologies.

Stant Litore

When You’re Writing Speculative Fiction and the Culture Around You Goes Bonkers

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3 years ago when I started the Ansible series, I wanted to continue my SF/F explorations of the Near East, this time imagining that in the world after climate change (and projecting from today’s current and extensive investments in higher education in the Near East) that history may swing around and the Near and Middle East and Southeast Asia would lead the world in science, mathematics, technology, and long-distance exploration in my 25th-century imagined future. As has happened before in history.

So I set out to write the stories of intergalactic exploration and time travel through the eyes of Islamic explorers from Iran, Indonesia, Arabia, Egypt, the Sudan, etc. … I really didn’t think of it much as a ‘statement,’ political or otherwise. It was speculative fiction, speculating about possible futures and about time travel and space travel and what one might find out there, and what you might bring with you when you did find it. And about the utter loneliness of reaching across such vastnesses of space and time.

Over the course of those three years, however, my country has gone absolutely raving bonkers. I mean, it was bonkers before. But now it’s completely unfettered-bonkers.

Which is how I find myself at conventions explaining to certain individuals that no, I am not writing about terrorists. That yes, there are Muslim scientists. Many, in fact. That no, this is not an “Islam-takes-over-the-world” dystopia, and no, for the love of God, fellow author, I don’t want to read your “Islam-takes-over-the-world” dystopia. And that if you would just read a damn history book once in a while or learn anything at all about the many, many cultures of Asia and Africa, you might not be as shocked by a science fiction book with a hijabi botanist on the cover. And if you really get combative with me, I’ll lose patience and explain to you how the first story of interstellar exploration was written by a 13th-century Arab. If you can’t handle speculative fiction that speculates about how other cultures would approach first contact, get. Find yourself another author who will cater to the tiny-ness of your world.

Fortunately, even today, the larger percentage of readers who stop by are genuinely intrigued. They actually want some speculation in their speculative fiction, and most don’t bring with them a requirement that a fictional twenty-fifth century conform to their prejudices.

They just want a really good story, and they still have enough curiosity to want to see the stars through more eyes than their own.

And that gladdens me.

Stant Litore

The Young God Emperor

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With baby Cirdan ‘Leto’ Litore on the way, I adore it that multiple fans have asked me recently how the young God Emperor is doing.

Cirdan

He’s doing wonderfully.

96 days to go!

Stant Litore

Meet a Time-Traveling, Shapeshifting Hijabi Defender of Humanity

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Her name is Sahira.
And she is our last hope.

She is the time-traveling, shapeshifting hijabi defender of humanity you meet in the second season of Ansible, striving across time and space to protect our descendants from the most unexpected and dangerous threat our species has ever faced.

This portrait of Sahira by artist Lauren K. Cannon will be featured as the cover art for The Fiction of Stant Litore, a hardcover gift edition to be released at the end of this year; the edition is entirely funded by my Patreon members. I am elated to have another cover from Lauren, and I thought you might like an early look!

For the daring among you: you can explore the Ansible universe here (in paperback, kindle, or audiobook):

Season One | Season Two

More big news: The first episode of Season Three — Ansible: Rasha’s Letter — arrives in May 2017!

Stant Litore

P.S. These 3 books (below) are on sale for 3 more days!